Comey: Nothing in IG report ‘makes me think we did the wrong thing’
Former FBI Director James Comey responded to a critical report from the Justice Department’s (DOJ) inspector general, which looked into the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe, saying the conclusions were “reasonable” but that nothing in the report “makes me think we did the wrong thing.”
“I respect the DOJ IG office, which is why I urged them to do this review. The conclusions are reasonable, even though I disagree with some,” Comey tweeted, minutes after the report was released. “People of good faith can see an unprecedented situation differently. I pray no Director faces it again. Thanks to IG’s people for hard work.”
I respect the DOJ IG office, which is why I urged them to do this review. The conclusions are reasonable, even though I disagree with some. People of good faith can see an unprecedented situation differently. I pray no Director faces it again. Thanks to IG’s people for hard work.
— James Comey (@Comey) June 14, 2018
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz criticized Comey for poor judgement during the course of the 2016 presidential race in the report released Thursday, but said there was no evidence that political bias improperly impacted his major choices during his probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of State.
Comey, whom President Trump fired last year, also responded to the report in a New York Times op-ed.
“But even in hindsight I think we chose the course most consistent with institutional values. An announcement at that point by the attorney general, especially one without the transparency our traditions permitted, would have done corrosive damage to public faith in the investigation and the institutions of justice,” Comey wrote of the FBI’s handling of the email probe.
“As painful as the whole experience has been, I still believe that. And nothing in the inspector general’s report makes me think we did the wrong thing.”
The report sharply criticized Comey for his conduct in the probe, saying that his decision not to inform Justice Department leaders of his plan to publicly exonerate Clinton in the investigation was “extraordinary and insubordinate.”
Comey told investigators that he hadn’t yet told DOJ officials of the statement because he feared they would advise him against it. Comey also said that not publicly speaking out about the probe would hurt the public’s perception of the investigation.
Horowitz wrote that Comey’s reasoning was not “a persuasive basis for deviating from well-established Department policies in a way intentionally designed to avoid supervision by Department leadership over his actions.”
The report also found that Comey used a personal email account for official FBI work, marking an ironic breach of protocol.
Comey wrote in the Times op-ed that he “could not have imagined” breaking with Justice Department norms before 2016, but that he was faced with “an extraordinary situation — something I thought of as a 500-year flood — offering no good choices and presenting some of the hardest decisions I ever had to make.”
“We knew that reasonable people might choose to do things differently and that a future independent reviewer might not see things the way we did,” the former FBI head wrote. “Yet I always believed that an inspector general report would be crucial to understanding and evaluating our actions.”